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Viridis Vs Waterfall Japanese Maple: What Is The Difference?

Japanese maples with dissected leaves have a sophisticated and remarkable appearance. Add to that the weeping shape and you have a fabulous plant.

The major difference between Viridis and Waterfall is that Waterfall has a richer green leaf color. At the same time, the Viridis leaves are slightly pale green. Also, Waterfall is more resistant to direct sun and hot climates than Viridis.

But these are not all the differences between these maples. In this article, you will learn about everything that sets them apart in great detail.

viridis vs waterfall japanese maple


Both maples have green leaves and that is generally true. However, the shade of green is different. Viridis has a less intense green color, and at the beginning of the season, it can be pale. By midseason, the color gets a little brighter, but it still does not equal its competitor.

Waterfall has more vibrant leaves at the beginning of the season. By midsummer, they become even more deep green and a little darker.

Both varieties change color in the fall. Viridis turn yellow to orange. While Waterfall turns bright orange almost immediately and some leaves may even turn red.

In general, we can say that Waterfall has brighter and more beautiful leaves than Viridis. However, one must keep in mind that color depends a lot on growing conditions and climate.

Sun tolerance

The second difference is the tolerance to direct sun. Not all Japanese maples are equally tolerant to direct sun, which is true of our varieties.

Waterfall tolerates the direct sun very well. That means it can grow in an open spot and receive direct sunlight all day long. Only zone 9 it needs partial shade.

It can also grow in partial sun. So it can only get direct sun for part of the day. What you definitely want to avoid is planting in full shade.

Viridis is not as sun-tolerant as Waterfall. It needs partial shade wherever it can be grown. It is best to give it about six hours of direct sun in the morning and leave it in the shade the rest of the day.

The afternoon sun produces the most negative effect on this variety. If you leave it in the sun all day, it can burn.

waterfall japanese-maple vs viridis japanese maple

Size and shape

The shape and size of both maples are slightly different and this is worth discussing.

By ten years of age, Viridis reaches about five feet in height and width. After many years of cultivation, it can grow to 9 feet tall and the same width. Its shape resembles a mound that is the same height and width.

Waterfall is a slightly larger maple. At maturity, it can reach about 10 feet tall and up to 12 feet wide. This implies that it is more umbrella-shaped.

In general, we can say that Waterfall has a more interesting shape because it grows wider, which emphasizes its weeping effect. However, it will require a bit more space in the yard than a competitor.

viridis japanese maple vs waterfall japanese maple


As for hardiness, there are some differences as well, so let’s review this issue.

Viridis can be grown from 5 to 8 zones. This means that it is quite tolerant of low temperatures. But it has a worse tolerance for heat. This variety needs partial shade no matter what zone it is growing in.

Waterfall is recommended in zones 5-9. This variety tolerates hot conditions and direct sun better. It can grow in direct sun in zones 5-8 and only needs some shade in zone 9.

As a result, Waterfall is better suited for container growing because it is less sensitive to overheating in hot summers.


Let’s look at the similarities of both maples to get a better understanding of the topic.

The first thing both varieties need is nutritious and well-drained soil. The fact is that Japanese maples do not like stagnant water and can react with root rot if the soil is constantly wet.

To avoid this, before planting, pour 1-2 buckets of good-quality compost into the planting hole. Mix the compost well with the native soil and only then plant. Avoid planting these maples near places where rainwater collects.

The second is a disease. Unfortunately, Japanese maples can fall victim to a variety of diseases. This can be leaf spot as well as Verticillium wilt.

To remedy this, spray the maple with a multi-purpose fungicide. Also, improve air exchange around the crown and don’t overwater the tree.

Another commonality is the need for nutrients. It’s best to fertilize maples in early spring before the leaves even appear. Use a slow-release multipurpose fertilizer for this purpose. Apply the manufacturer’s recommended amount of fertilizer once a year and your maple will be fine all year long.

People also ask

How big does a Viridis Japanese maple get?

At ten years of age, Viridis Japanese maple reaches a height of 5 feet and the same width. It has a more or less symmetrical shape that resembles a mound.

At maturity, it can reach a height of 9 feet or slightly more. The width will be the same. It is great for small gardens and containers. But if it is too big for you, you can easily control its size with annual pruning.

What is the most beautiful Japanese maple variety?

The most beautiful variety of Japanese Maple is Mikawa Yatsubusa. It has very rich bright green leaves with deep cuts. It is characterized by a very large number of leaves on the branches, which, combined with its dwarf size, gives it a fabulous look.

The second variety that you will definitely want to look at is the Geisha Gone Wild Japanese Maple. It is also a dwarf variety with variegated leaves. It has a combination of dark maroon and pink colors that you will not see on any other tree.

How big do Waterfall Japanese maples get?

Waterfall Japanese can reach 10 feet in height and 12 in width when mature. It is shaped like an umbrella with thin branches and dissected leaves.

It is considered a dwarf maple, though it is the largest in this category. Despite its size, you can grow Waterfall Japanese almost anywhere.

If it grows in a small area, it may not reach its maximum size. You can also shorten it regularly.